Actually three recipes in one, each recipe can also stand on its own, but it comes together beautifully as a whole. It’s all about the assembly. Never fear, it’s also a great recipe to make ahead for an appetizer or for a main meal. Gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan and packed with deliciousness!

GARLIC is our highlight of the week to kick off the New Year. Despite it not really being an herb or a spice, garlic is a powerhouse of nutrition when added to foods. Especially when you add the fresh garlic like this recipe calls for. It’s probably most accurate to call garlic a vegetable, even though it’s hardly ever eaten on its own. In this sense, garlic is most similar to onions and shallots, although ultimately garlic belongs in a category all its own. Garlic contains many sulfur compounds which detoxify the body, boost the immune system, lower blood pressure and improve circulation. Garlic has also demonstrated anti-cancer, antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-oxidant effects. Enjoy this healthy recipe to start the new year off on the right foot!

The Master Plan

Step One

Two days ahead of time, make your polenta and put it in the fridge. You can make the pesto a day or two in advance.

Step Two

Slide the polenta and pesto out of the fridge, cut the polenta and place the shapes in the oven at 350F for about 10 minutes to warm. While its cooking, sauté  the mushrooms. You can serve this at warm or at room temperature.

Step Three

Place the polenta on a plate, top with the mushrooms and pesto. Garnish with a little more arugula if you’d like. Of course, the red pop of a sliced grape tomato would be a welcome color, too.

Sundried Tomato Polenta

  • 7 Cups Water
  • 1 TB Salt
  • 1 2/3 Cup Polenta or Grits
  • ¼ Cup Chopped Sundried Tomatoes*

Bring the water to a boil and sprinkle in the salt and polenta, whisking constantly. Stir for about 3 minutes, turn the heat down to low, cover and set your timer for 15 minutes. When the timer goes off, remove the lid and stir for 2 -3 minutes. Repeat this two more times. When the polenta is cooked, stir in the sundried tomatoes and spread the polenta on a well-oiled sheet pan. Place in the fridge until firm, cut into shapes with a knife or cookie cutter.

* Buy the dry – not packed in oil – sundried tomatoes for this recipe. When you feel the bag of tomatoes, they should feel soft, like a raisin. If they are hard and crumbly, pass on those and find more.

Sautéed Mushrooms

  • 2 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 8 OZ Mushrooms like Cremini or Shitake, sliced
  • 2 TB Braggs Liquid Amino Acids*
  • Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Heat the olive oil over medium high heat in a large sauté pan. When the oil is hot, not smoking, add in the mushrooms. Cook and stir for about 3 minutes or until the mushrooms begin to give off liquid and brown. Add in the Braggs and continue to cook and stir until the mushrooms are browned on the edges. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

*Braggs is a great substitute for soy sauce or tamari. Easy to find in the condiments aisle of the grocery store, they are a liquid amino acid that is gluten-free.

Arugula Pesto

  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • 2 TB Tahini*
  • 1 TB Lemon Juice
  • 2 – 3 Cups Packed Arugula
  • ½ Cup Chopped Toasted Walnuts
  • 1 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Place the garlic, tahini and lemon juice in the food processor bowl and whiz until pureed. Add the walnuts and arugula and pulse to blend. With the machine running, pour the olive oil in a steady stream into the bowl, process until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

*Tahini is ground sesame seed paste. It’s easy to find in the grocery store, or just
substitute almond butter instead.


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